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Me and my health: Celebrity chef Ian Orr on his lifestyle


Fitness fan: Ian Orr
Fitness fan: Ian Orr
Ian Orr with his dad Billy after running the Waterside Half Marathon

By Linda Stewart

The celebrity chef from Derry is chief patron and co-owner of Browns restaurant group and Ardtara Country House Hotel. He is married to Jennifer and they have two children, Oliver (10) and Emily (5), as well as two dogs, a rabbit and a kitten.

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: I would say about a year ago I started doing regular exercise. I go running with my dad and then I go to a guy called Sam Connolly who does a lot of weight training with me which has been brilliant. I started to lose a bit of weight and now I've got the bug for running - I love it. And I'm doing a half marathon, 10ks and 5ks, that sort of thing. With Sam, I'm doing more body weight work. The running is great, but this is different and it's breaking it up a little bit- a bit of variety.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: I was in a car accident when I was about 16 and that was probably my worst illness, apart from the odd cold. I was out with a friend who lost control of the car and I was injured in the accident. I was in hospital for a couple of days as I had to get about 40 stitches in my back and some stitches in my head. I just have the scars now, to be fair. I am going bald and my wife is always at me to shave my hair off, but there's a small scar on the back of my head and I am conscious about it. But someday it's going to have to come off, because there'll be no hair left!

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: It's definitely much healthier! I'd say about a year ago I had it in my head about starving myself - I was picking all day, skipping breakfast, and it was just not good. But now I've really got it, especially since I met Sam. He's really on about eating healthily. So I'd have porridge and natural yoghurt with berries for breakfast and for dinners I'll have lots of chicken and stir-fry sauces. I'm actually eating loads of food at the moment, but I'm feeling great. I'm loving vinegars at the moment - apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar over vegetables or salad is amazing.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: My bad habit is probably getting hooked on a series on Netflix and staying up until 2am to watch it. You come home from work about midnight and you're buzzing, so if there's a new series out and you stay up to watch it, you could be up pretty late.

Q: Do you drink or smoke/ if so how much?

A: I don't smoke, but I do enjoy my red wine. My cheat day would be on Sunday, so I still eat really good food but I would open a bottle of Pinot Grigio or a nice bottle of Merlot and if I am in good form I might have one of each - if Jennifer allows me!

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: I don't. The odd time I might take a bit of a protein shake, or a bit of protein powder in my porridge. My supplement is water - I drink loads of it, four or five litres a day.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I just would spend time with my kids on a Monday night and on a Sunday. We would go for walks, go for a drive, or even do simple stuff like playing a few games, or we'd go to Browns for lunch or dinner.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I sleep great - unless I am up until 2am watching Netflix! I sleep well 99% of the time and since I've been doing a bit of training, I've been sleeping like a log recently.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Not really, life's too short. I don't worry about it at all. The only thing I worry about is my baldness - that is it and it's slowly coming off.

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: I think exercising has been a great lifestyle changer for everybody. Everyone in my family is eating healthier and my son goes out on his bike - I think it's been a change for the better.

Ian Orr with his dad Billy after running the Waterside Half Marathon

Ian recently teamed up with his dad Billy to run his first half marathon, the annual Waterside Half Marathon, in support of the Cancer Fund for Children. Billy has been running for many years and this was his 21st Waterside half marathon

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